The Princess Royal, 72, played a pivotal role in Saturday’s coronation, acting as the Gold-Stick-in-Waiting during the King and Queen’s procession from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace following the coronation.
In that role, Anne was seen on horseback leading 6,000 members of the Armed Forces from the abbey to the Palace in the largest procession since Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation seven decades ago.
The position of Gold-Stick-in-Waiting, according to the British Army, rides on the wheels of the Gold State Coach and essentially acts as the monarch’s personal bodyguard.
The position was created during Henry VIII’s reign, as a conspiracy saw the former king supposedly in danger thus a trusted courtier was ordered to always be by the monarch’s side carrying an ebony staff with a gold head.
“Princess Anne, Royal Colonel of the Blue and Royals, rides behind the King and Queen (her brother and sister-in-law in the role ‘Gold-Stick-in-Waiting’. It means she is entrusted with the monarch's personal safety,” ITV’s royal editor Chris Ship tweeted.
Anne was also the only royal who appeared on horseback during the King’s coronation.
Royal fans on social media were quick to react to Anne’s position. “Princess Anne doing the quickest of quick changes to leap on a horse and ride alongside the carriage as a defender of her brother seems much more heroic than all that other sovereign-ly stuff that just happened, just saying. No cushy carriage for her!” @LiangRhea tweeted.
“Princess Anne is 72 years old and riding a horse in full uniform, with a sword. She is absolutely amazing!” @DaisyDuck2109 added.
“Princess Anne riding on a horse with the other Colonels is my hero out of all this absurdity,” @mlarsonrichard said.
Other users called her the “coolest Princess” and the best “role model for Princess Charlotte”.
Anne later appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony alongside the King and Queen, and other senior members of the Royal Family like the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and the Prince and Princess of Wales. Prince Harry was notably absent from the balcony.
It marked the second time Anne had made a balcony appearance during a monarch’s coronation, as she appeared on the balcony when she was two years old during her mother’s Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.
Watch: Royals greet crowds from Buckingham Palace balcony